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Upcycle Those Old CDs -- Craft Ideas for Creating with Kids

Updated on March 20, 2012

Crafting with old CDs or DVDs is a great way to have fun and teach children important lessons about protecting the environment without nagging them. The shiny disks provide a fun canvas for expressing creativity while taking care of the Earth.

Drink Coasters or Table Trivets

Allow children to paint the surface of a DVD with acrylic paints, paint pens or permanent markers. Glue felt or thin sheets of cork to the opposite side to make a coaster to protect your table when setting drinks or hot dishes on it. Another option is to glue magnetic strips to the back for a new style of functional refrigerator art.

Photo Mobile

Glue a length of ribbon between two CDs or DVDs, with the printed side of the disks together. Cut a special photograph about 1/2 to 1 inch smaller than the disk. Paint the CD with a mixture of equal parts craft glue and water, center the picture, and paint more of the glue mixture on top. Make several “framed” CD pictures, with different lengths of ribbon, and tie them to a dowel with the ribbon loops. Alternatively, punch holes around the edge of another CD or DVD, and hang the photo frames from those holes with ribbon.

Personalized Clock

Make a special gift for a grandparent, teacher or friend by upcycling that extra CD into a clock. Embellish the front with wooden cutouts, stickers, or other materials, add clockworks to the center, and your child has a fun reason for learning to tell time. Paint the CD black and add white numbers, apple cutouts or mini building blocks for a unique teacher gift. For a music teacher, paint a waving staff, complete with clefs and notes from a favorite song as the background before the hands and works.

Magic Mirror Mosaic

Break or cut several CDs or DVDs into small pieces, making sure to wear safety glasses while doing so. Allow children to glue the pieces to a painted wooden picture frame or to heavy cardboard, using a low-temperature glue gun to make a glitzy mosaic. Add a stained glass effect by squeezing black or silver paint in the spaces between disk pieces.

Mini Scrapbook

Turn those extra CDs or DVDs into a personal-sized scrapbook. Cover both sides of several disks with scrapbook paper. Arrange photographs, ephemera, beads, buttons or stickers to the CD “pages.” Punch a hole along the edge of each CD and thread them on several strands of different fibers or join them with a binder ring to hold the book together.

Stylin’ Storage

Older children can make bowls for collecting coins and “pocket treasure” at the end of the day, although this project probably needs a great deal of adult supervision. Place an ovenproof bowl on a baking sheet, bottom side up and coated with cooking spray, and lay a CD or DVD on top. Slide the sheet into a slow oven, preheated to about 250 degrees, and watch the disk drape itself over the bowl. When the new bowl cools, paint it with acrylic paints and embellish the outside with beads, feathers, fibers or buttons. Fill the bowl with potpourri, hair ornaments or coins. Do not use these bowls for food.


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    • pjmartin profile image

      pjmartin 6 years ago


      My craft club in the after-school program has been doing a lot with recycled materials lately. I'm finding that a terrific "teachable moment" for environmental responsibility AND for crafting skills!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 6 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great ideas! We might as well find another use for them after we don't need them anymore. It's better that go in the landfill!

    • pjmartin profile image

      pjmartin 6 years ago

      You could also "wash" some of the pieces with thin paint or glass paint to give it a stained-glass look. Then, you could surround her name with plain ones for the extra reflection. I'd love to see a picture when you finish it.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      I liked the bowl, and the magic mirror. I was thinking about that one for something for my grand daughters room. Like spelling her name out or something. She won't know what they are (she's only two now), but it would make a cool decoration for her room.

    • pjmartin profile image

      pjmartin 6 years ago

      Thanks! I think my favorite is the bowl -- the kids are enthralled when it begins to melt; it always gets ooohs and aaahs!

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great ideas! Always best to recycle when you can. I think some of these would make great gifts too! Voted up an useful, and interesting.